December 4, 2020 • The Christian Science Monitor

Points of Progress: Solar power use boosts teacher pay, and more

A school district in Arkansas has joined the thousands of educational institutions across the country embracing solar energy – and it’s using savings to boost teachers’ pay. The Batesville School District used to operate on a $250,000 budget deficit and struggled to retain teachers. During a 2017 audit, school leaders discovered the annual utility bill was more than $600,000. By installing solar panels and updating the facilities to be more energy efficient, the schools cut their yearly energy consumption by 1.6 million kilowatts and are on track to save $2.4 million over 20 years. That’s translated into raises averaging $2,000-$3,000 per educator. Batesville was able to secure a $5.4 million bond to make the updates, but in 2019, Arkansas passed legislation designed to support other districts making a similar switch. (Energy News)